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Fan-Tastic! Survey Finds Majority of College Students Celebrate Responsibly on Game Day


College sporting events are a time for students to show school spirit, bond with friends and have some fun, and according to a new survey, the overwhelming number of college students (aged 21-29) who celebrate on game day do so safely and responsibly.

Conducted by Harris Interactive® on behalf of Anheuser-Busch and the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC), the 2007 study found that college students (aged 21-29) said their behavior is responsible and safe during home games (94 percent), at tailgating parties (93 percent) and at post-game parties (85 percent). Additionally, among students (aged 21-29) who host tailgating or post-game parties, all report practicing at least one of the responsible party-hosting behaviors, including providing food for guests, supervising guests’ behavior to ensure that all guests and property stays safe, arranging transportation for those who have had too much to drink, limiting the number of people attending the party and limiting the party guests to people they know.

For many students, sports are an integral part of the college experience. According to the survey, 98 percent of students (aged 21-29) agree that college sporting events show school spirit, and 96 percent say it’s a time to bond with friends.
“A growing body of evidence shows that by communicating the positive behavior of their peers -- in this case that the majority of students enjoy college sports responsibly -- students are encouraged to follow that lead,” adds James Turner, M.D., executive director of the National Social Norms Institute at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville. “We hope that universities across the country will use this study to remind their students to enjoy their school’s sporting events responsibly.”

Communicating the actual positive behavior that’s taking place among students is called social norms marketing, and according to the National Social Norms Institute, among U.S. colleges and universities where it has been implemented, protective behaviors have increased, while risky behaviors have decreased. These include reductions in high-risk drinking and increases in the use of designated drivers and friends looking out for each other.

Peter McPherson, president of NASULGC, adds, “This study helps dispel widespread myths that most college students are always partying and out-of-control. This is yet another piece of evidence that shows that kind of claim is simply not true.”

In fact, the American Freshman Survey, which is the longest running study of college students nationwide sponsored by the American Council on Education and the University of California-Los Angeles, found that the percentage of college freshmen who reported drinking beer frequently or occasionally is at the lowest level since tracking began in 1966, 12 percent lower than in 2000 and down 43 percent since its peak in 1982.

“We applaud the many college students who act responsibly and respect fellow fans when celebrating college sports,” says Carol Clark, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility for Anheuser-Busch Cos. “We’re pleased to partner with NASULGC to promote this exemplary behavior as the norm, so that all students realize they can still have fun, but stay safe.”

The study was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive from April 11, 2007 through May 2, 2007 among 1,038 college students aged 21-29 who were enrolled in a NCAA member school and had attended a home basketball or football game in the past year. Data was weighted by age, race/ethnicity, education, income, region and propensity to be online, where necessary, to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the U.S. population of college students aged 21 to 29. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

With a pure probability sample of 1,038, one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the overall results would have a sampling error of +/- 3.04 percentage points. Sampling error for data based on sub-samples would be higher and would vary. However, that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

Anheuser-Busch is the global industry leader in promoting responsibility, with ads dating back to the early 1900s that carried the tagline “Budweiser Means Moderation.” Since 1982, the company and its 600 wholesalers nationwide have invested more than $675 million in alcohol awareness and education programs and partnerships. In 2007, for the fourth year in a row, the company ranked first in the beverage industry for social responsibility in FORTUNE magazine’s “America’s Most Admired Companies” and “Global Most Admired Companies.” More information about Anheuser-Busch’s responsibility efforts is available at


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